“Is age a prerequisite for wisdom, though? We all know a few elderly people who lack wisdom, while we may know few young people that have wisdom in spades. People certainly aren’t always at peak brainpower in old age; after all, when wrinkles begin appearing on the face, it usually means that wrinkles have started disappearing on the brain. The brain shrinks slightly with age, and aging leads to a normal decline in cognitive function that may eventually bloom into dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease”.
While philosophers and religious traditions have provided readings on the nature of wisdom for centuries, the concept didn’t become a subject of scientific study until 1950. That’s when psychoanalyst Erik Erikson created an eight-stage theory of the human life cycle. In each stage, a person faces an internal struggle that develops different aspects of personality.
For example, an infant’s struggle is the battle between trust and mistrust; when infants feel they can trust those around them, they develop a sense of hope
last stage, old age, people grapple with the balance between their personal sense of integrity and defeat in the face of death and physical disintegration. If integrity wins out, then the result, according to Erikson, is wisdom.